The 49ers have placed an original-round tender on restricted free agent Larry Grant, according to Grant's agent. The team's only other restricted free agents this year were receiver Brett Swain and safety C.J. Spillman. Spillman was given a three-year extension last month. Swain has not yet received a tender offer.
If another team offers Grant a contract when free agency begins Tuesday, the 49ers could match it and retain the linebacker. If they decide not to match the offer, the team that signs Grant would have to compensate the 49ers with a seventh-round pick, the round in which Grant was drafted by the 49ers in 2008.
Teams in need of an inside linebacker include Pittsburgh, which recently parted ways with veteran James Farrior, Baltimore, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Seattle. The Seahawks are particularly interesting considering that Grant's biggest play last season - a forced fumble at the end of the game against Tarvaris Jackson - occurred in Seattle as well as the fact that the man who drafted Grant, former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan, now works for the Seahawks.
Grant, who played at Foothill High in Sacramento, was released by the 49ers in 2008 and eventually caught on with the Rams where he spent the 2008-10 seasons. Last year, the 49ers signed him to a one-year deal as a backup to Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.
When Willis injured his hamstring Dec. 4, Grant stepped in and played very well, finishing the next three games with 24 tackles, a sack and the forced fumble that preserved a win against the Seahawks.
There are three levels at which a team can tender a restricted free agent. The first comes with a $2.74 million salary and compensates a team with a first-round pick if the player signs elsewhere. The mid-level tender comes with a $1.93 million salary and a second-round pick as compensation. The original-round tender that Grant will get is $1.26 million.
Swain, meanwhile, was a free agent when the 49ers signed him last season following Joshua Morgan's season-ending broken leg. He originally was a seventh-round pick by Green Bay in 2008. He was active for five games and finished with seven catches for 15 yards. The 49ers might allow him to reach free agency and then try to sign him to a minimum-salary-deal.
-- Matt Barrows